Why Join the North Shore NAACP?

circa 1945: A man joining the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People). The NAACP was founded in 1909 on Abraham Lincoln's birthday after a riot had broken out the year before in his home town of Springfield, Illinois. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)

Written by Barbara A Smith,


Concerned Hamilton Citizen and Activist Blogger for transparency in government.. at Hamilton Wenham Liberals for Democracy founding member of the North Shore NAACP branch

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is America’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. It was formed in New York City by white and Black activists.

Why I joined my local chapter of the NAACP

Just look at the two people in the photo above- they are smiling. She appears to be a white woman like myself, although I am not sure. If she is white I can relate to how good she must feel to recognize that racism is caused by white people and she is taking action to right historic wrongs. Regardless of her race, ALL people are welcome to join the NAACP because social injustice harms all Americans. Read more about why white people should join….

Joining is Easy and a Bargain!

The price of membership in 1945 was only $1.00. I suppose that was a lot of money back then, but the inner and outer peace gained by fighting for civil rights is priceless. Unlike the heroes who have lost their lives in the struggle, I am working from a position of white Privilege and although I have joined Black Lives Matter marches, I have never feared for my safety. Joining my local NAACP chapter is my small contribution and the small contributions add up to big changes. It is an honor to join this historic organization!

Citizens marching and holding signs during a protest during a conference for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), 1964. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

Joining the North Shore branch of the NAACP is indeed, easy. Although the North Shore Chapter welcomes members from around the country, even internationally, we focus on servicing 17 communities in Massachusetts. Please click on the link to see the map and learn more.

No Stress Membership!

I was one of the 100 founding members of our branch created in response to the dreadful 2020 summer of George Floyd’s murder. I was pleasantly (perhaps, ecstatically is the better term) surprised when the Hamilton and Wenham communities joined in unity, including our Police Department to protest the mindset and policies that led to this tragedy. At this very same time, I was thinking about re-organizing the Hamilton Democratic Town Committee which appeared to have its leadership gone AWOL.

I guess, I sought out the stress of taking action! The good news is that MEMBERS do not need to be active, although it is super appreciated. Involvement is voluntary but please begin by joining…..

Many members pay the $30.00 membership fee and sleep better at night knowing that they took this simple action . Nobody bugs them to do more, although there might be a friendly phone call from the membership committee to welcome you. Scroll down this page to see the friendly face of Arnie, the membership committee chair.

Some members choose to be a little bit involved (people like me). Others have chosen to donate their time, energy, brilliance and commitment to racial justice by joining committees and becoming a committee chair. Please go back to the above link and scroll to the top of the page to see what passion looks like …..


Learning is Fun, so is Meeting People Who are Different from Me in Culture but share my passion for social justice….

Since the branch formation, there has been a focus on getting to know one another, making new friends and learning about the history that brought us to this point in time. This included enjoying a Black is Beautiful Beer! in addition to Pandemic era creativity including:

Power Point historical talks on local Black History

Hikes and cook outs in parks

Children are welcome to join and some have even led hikes

Book and Movie Discussions

Young adults have led discussions on YA books such as The Hate You Give

Strength in Numbers

During the civil rights era in the 1950s and 1960s, the NAACP won major legal victories, and today the organization has more than 2,200 branches and some half a million members worldwide.

The North Shore Branch has grown to over 600 members and we are eager to surpass 1,000 by the summer. We need to show our strength in numbers when communicating with elected officials, educational institutions, law enforcement, the health care industry and other social constructs to make our voices loud, clear and effective- that racism will not be tolerated.

Membership for youth under age 21 years of age is only $15.00 and they are in the process of creating a youth committee. These are exciting times!

Barbara’s plug: Strength in numbers is also extremely important for Democrats fighting against America’s Republican Party transformed into the party of hate by the former “guy”. If you are a liberal leaning registered independent- please consider joining the Democratic party. You do not need to pay money, expend time or even become a member of the town committee. However, increasing the numbers of registered Democrat is sending a message that Democrats have power.

Listen to Stacey Abrams…. she knows about strength in numbers….

Leaving a Legacy for Our Children

Ruby Bridges with U.S. Marshals, William Frantz Elementary School, New Orleans, November 14, 1960
Public domain image, Courtesy U.S. Department of Justice

When I was a child growing up in 1960’s Queens, New York, my elementary school principal announced that we were to welcome children who looked different to our school. Not every part of the country was this progressive… It was a scary time for young, African American children to be confronted with hate for simply attending school…

I developed fantasies of becoming a civil rights attorney or an author like James Baldwin using my pen to fix the world. Well, I became an occupational therapist and an author and have helped in various ways. Now that I am retired I have more time to think (and write and draw) about how to change minds and hearts. Please join me on this journey……

Please follow the FaceBook page Hamilton and Wenham Liberals for Democracy for local democracy updates…..


  1. So beautifully written Barbara – it is an honor to do this work with you. Thank you!! Judy Kauffman

  2. Excellent Barbara! Thank you so much for reinforcing why it is so important to support the great civil rights work of the NAACP. We are very fortunate to have an active local branch right here on the Northshore.

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